Interview: Alice Karveli | ITSLIQUID

Interview: Alice Karveli

Interviews | March 29, 2019 |

Interview: Alice KarveliImage courtesy of Alice Karveli

Interview: Alice Karveli

Luca Curci talks with Alice Karveli during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2019 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.

Alice Karveli (originally from Athens, based in London since 2014) is an interdisciplinary mixed media artist, working with painting, drawing, collage, photography, installation, music, dance and with a focus on performance, both live and on film, with sculptural elements, hypnotic soundscapes and a visceral kinaesthetic approach, using the body as medium and material. She is interested in the use of art as transformational tool, and the works often become rites to facilitating esoteric work: transforming psychological and physical pain into compassion, protective and creative power, exorcising fears, and integrating aspects of the shadow-self in a process of liberating the true self.  In doing so, the goal is also to create transformational rites the viewer can project upon, thus potentially instigating an analogous transformational process within them-selves. Her painting and illustration practice is a method of processing and expressing contents of inner images and intimations about the spiritual nature of life and its cycles, the connections one forms in it with others, the ordeals one is put through by it, and the inner alchemical processes they catalyse. She uses a vibrant, intense colour palette, fitting for the inescapable intensity of their content, true to the vision of their origin. She has participated in group exhibitions in Greece since 2009 and in London since 2014, getting involved with independent art collectives like the Random Artists TAA and The Nave in recent years. She has had two solo exhibitions in Athens (2013, 2014) and one in London at The Hive Dalston in 2017. She is represented by Apel Gallery in Athens, Greece. She has exhibited in Greece since 2009 and England since 2014, with two solo exhibitions in Athens (2013, 2014) and one in London at The Hive Dalston in 2017. In recent years she has worked closely with independent art collectives (Random Artists TAA and The Nave) as well as the Art Number 23 Gallery. She is represented by Apel Gallery in Athens, Greece.

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Interview: Alice KarveliImage courtesy of Alice Karveli

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Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Alice Karveli – Art for me is a tool. One of the most versatile and powerful tools we are privileged as humans to have at our disposal. More than a tool for expressing the contents of our minds, hearts and souls so that we can first process them on an individual level, then share them and connect over them on a collective level, it is a tool of transformation. Catalysing change in us, helping us heal, grow and expand as beings. This applies both to the creator who is changed through the making of a work and the experiencer who is affected by the work. Art can also function as an arrow, directing our attention to things in the individual and collective psyche. Things that need to change, the difficult things that need to be faced but also, pointing out the beauty inside and outside of us, the nature of life and the world, lifting the veil of fog that obscures it, created by the adversities and distractions occurring all around.

LC – What are you currently working on?
AK – Currently I find myself between tying up loose ends in old work (video performance projects filmed in 2017) and expanding my practice in collaboration with my partner Tarik Haskić, a sound and media artist. Also, I continue steadily developing my painting and drawing practice in parallel to everything else. Our work with Tarik is based around transformative performance, whilst exploring possibilities of interaction between our performing bodies, within a sound generating and reactive installation, expanding towards incorporating light, also reactive to sound and our moving bodies. We work with DIY electronics, various sensors that monitor the body’s physiological responses (blood pressure, heart beat, skin galvanic response, brain waves etc) to stimuli and the performing processes/actions and we make lights reactive to sound triggers, our moving bodies by using motion sensors and the environment by using instruments reactive to temperature and humidity changes and so on.  This is a new avenue of creative development we are both immensely excited to explore together whilst still combining it with the more direct and expressive elements of body movement, intuitive voice and spoken word poetry we have both often used in the past, in our respective individual practices.

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Interview: Alice KarveliImage courtesy of Alice Karveli

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LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
AK – If art is a tool that functions as described above (see answer for question 1) then the artist can be considered the designated operator of it for the benefit of the collective. Contemporary art today, due to the state of the world, the dangers and challenges we face as a global community and as a living species, has important dilemmas to face in terms of what to focus on: to prioritise a sense of responsibility for the environment, or more towards the human psyche (the trouble in which directly affects how we treat our environment and each other), to focus more on creating for purely aesthetic reasons, or to experiment with new technologies and all the possibilities that opens… etc. It is a choice that each artist individually has to make for themselves first and through doing so, finding accordingly their peer groups. It takes all kinds to make a world, but as important as it is to stay genuine to one’s passions, it is equally important to consider how they can give the best possible benefit to the collective at times of crisis through doing so.

LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
AK – It is not so much a matter of pursuit but a feeling of being compelled to express the feeling of something in particular, be that a process, a vision or an insight, in a specific way, make it come to life and/or facilitate it, then I go ahead and do it. The subject is the inspiration and the drive to create all at once.

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AK – In regards to the inner workings of the human element, I find inspiration in the processes and changes we undergo through life, emotional and spiritual, in dreams, daydreams and visionary experience, observing the patterns of connection that emerge and form, distort and disintegrate, reconstruct and cement, between (myself and) people and how archetypal forces and symbols play out roles throughout the course of their/our lives. I focus on lessons that can be extracted from observing such these processes. In looking outward from the human sphere, I find inspiration in nature and the elemental forces that dance within and through it. It is an inescapable fact however, that there is hardly any remaining purity in nature in the age of Anthropocene and that also is another source of inspiration for me. As well the new relationships that humans are developing with themselves and their environment as technologies are becoming more accessible and the tension created by people being torn between being fascinated by and resisting the coming changes.

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Interview: Alice KarveliImage courtesy of Alice Karveli

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LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
AK – The concept of “body language” I think is an important one and allows a lot of room for expansion at all directions whilst keeping a strong focal and connecting point that brings everything together, which is of course the first immediate and main tool we are born, and at the same time “stuck with” throughout our lives: the body. Body language is the first language we learn to speak intuitively, with pure animal instinct that also cuts through the barriers that verbal language (that came much later) creates between us. Body language is Universal and cross-species language that requires no translation.

LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
AK – As an artist working with performance, the first and main instrument I use in my practice is the body and the tools that come with it: voice, movement, energy, skin, hair, blood, damage the body can endure and the ways in which it can interact and relate with a space, materials and objects used and the feelings all of this produces in me and subsequently a viewer.  I use my body and the tools that come with it to tell stories about the processes that occur in the emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual realms, as well as to facilitate and catalyse such processes.  I view the body as vehicle and instrument for the soul within to speak and use it as such in my approach to performance, so any of my pieces would have been equally relevant to the theme.

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Interview: Alice KarveliImage courtesy of Alice Karveli

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LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
AK – ITSLIQUID group seem to be very active, organised, as well as very friendly and accommodating to artists, keeping in contact to promptly answer questions, resolving issues related to the exhibitions, presenting the artists’s work and related materials. The themes chosen for the exhibitions resonate a lot with me personally and I also feel they are quite relevant to the world at large and how artists respond to such themes presented in juxtaposition is quite interesting and insightful.

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AK – Definitely, as they are quite focused on representing artists and their work as well as the inner workings of their practice, if they are happy to share that of course. The fact that they are based in the art hub that is the very beautiful city of Venice is also a big plus and makes for a lovely trip around attending the exhibition.

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